Let’s review emotional development in early childhood month by month.
Emotions accompany each person from the first days of life. If you look at photos of babies, you can surely “read” expressions on their faces, whether they are happy or sad, comfortable or not.
The first thing a little one needs right after birth is to establish contact with the mother, to achieve an understanding of his needs. A simple method will help you in this – establish “skin to skin” contact immediately after birth and during the first 5-6 weeks of life. With the help of this contact a bonding is formed.
In a series of experiments it was found that Japanese babies calmed much faster than the European and American ones. This is due to genetically low emotionality. However, an important fact is that Japanese mothers have more physical contact with their babies, respond more quickly to their cries. Babies feel more relaxed and confident that their mother is there and will always come when they call her.
The first 40 days of baby’s life is a period of mutual adaptation with his mother, setting daily rhythms, focusing on their own feelings because all this is new for him.
A baby cannot smile looking into mother’s eyes. His smile is likely caused by the physiological factors, it tells about satisfaction of baby’s needs. He can smile after feeding or while sleeping. A baby starts actively smiling about two months old. This is a “social” smile already, a reaction to the adult’s face. Sometimes this smile is accompanied by agooing, active hand and feet movements. Such a reaction appears in response to gentle attitude to the baby. He expresses pleasure from a dialogue and makes his first attempts to communicate this way. This means for the baby that a long way of human communication is being started.
At this age, is a baby can already “flirt” – he ogles, flirts, smiles. With these actions a baby shows how cute and nice he is. Moreover, a baby already has a well-founded resolution and firmness, he can protest at any adults’ deed that seems to be unacceptable in relation to him.
In two months, a baby is very happy and cheerful. He smiles and utters sounds when widely opens his mouth or laughs silently sometimes. Many babies start laughing loudly at this age petiod.
In the third month of life, baby’s cry differs in tone. Now it is not so “demanding”, it becomes a “begging” one, less urgent. Pauses appear while waiting for an answer.
Baby can express his emotional states in different ways. Well-being and comfort are expressed with a radiant smile, a neutral state – with seriousness and caution, discomfort – with whimper and irritation, interest – with a rapt attention. A mom must learn to distinguish between crying, to quickly identify the cause and eliminate it.
In the third month of life a baby can be capricious. As a rule, he just wants to say that he is bored. While being capricious your baby is not crying really. For this whimper not to turn into a cry, take him in your arms, walk around the apartment, sing a song, and put him back with another toy to play with, if you need to do something else, but the baby has no more worries.
It is interesting. A cry is a natural exercise for the cervical, thoracic, abdominal muscles and lungs, so its certain amount is just necessary for the normal baby’s development.
Starting from four months baby’s emotions are not reflexive but quite conscious. When baby is expressing, his emotions his every action has a meaning. The rapid brain development allows him to be more actively interested in the surrounding world: curiosity and joy of discovery as well as disappointment.
At this age a baby laughs loudly, actively expresses joy and shows his “importance” (pretending to be very busy). If he is interested in something, he breathes often and tries to reach an interesting object with his hands. He needs mother to support all his games.
Try to stand near your baby not looking at him. At first he will smile, look with expectation, wait a bit, then, most likely, will knock with his arms and legs. If you are able not to smile, then there will be more attempts to get your attention with calling sounds turning into angry tone, or even into a whimper. Perhaps your baby will be offended for the first time and will turn away from you. When you create such situations they will help your baby to learn to take the initiative to communicate. Also your baby can protest being alone.
At 5 months a baby loves to laugh and play. He is jealousy when his mother talks with someone else, is naughty and needs attention. He starts expressing tenderness and affection. Baby hugs and kisses the adult: taps his face, leans against the face with his open mouth (kisses). Becomes become more patient, but very offensive at the same time.
At 6 months a baby begins to show perseverance and sense of purpose: is angry if something does not work, tries to achieve a goal at any cost. At this age, babies are especially cheerful and happy.
1.The best activity to develop emotionality is to play Peek-a-Boo, sing different nursery songs and say rhymes. Your happy mood will be quickly passed to the baby.
2. Show your love over again and teach your baby about his body parts. While dressing or washing, say to him: “Here is our wonderful nose, and here is a beautiful mouth, here are the eyes, these are nice hands and these strong legs will walk along the track!”
3. If your child can already listen attentively, smile, frown his eyebrows, wrinkle his nose, you should copy his movements then. Mirror game will enthrall your baby and will cause new emotions.
4. At this age, babies begin to respond to tickling. Tap on his chest, tickle his heels. Laughter prolongs life and improves mood greatly!
5. Walking outdoors with your baby, do not pass by any playground. Show your baby how adults, children of school and pre-school age communicate. Babies aged 3 to 6 months are very curious, they like to watch the communication, the various scenes in the street, and just love to look at the children frolicking in the yard.
6. When the baby wakes up, say nursery rhymes like this one:
I wake up in the morning
And stretch up to the sun,
Stretching, stretching to the sky!
For a baby’s normal mental development in the first six months it is important that his mother is happy to see him and loves to communicate with him. In psychology, this period is called “stage of direct emotional relationship between mother and child.” As flowers cannot grow without light, so babies cannot fully develop without their mother’s love.
In 6-7 months baby feels incredible love and affection for the person who constantly cares for him. Huge attachment to the mother at this age is absolutely natural and normal. It is not easy to stand baby’s need in his mother’s presence every minute, because mother has so much to do yet! But this need and its successful meeting are necessary for to the baby’s specific emotional and spiritual qualities to be formed.
However, from time to time (for a few hours during the day or at least once a week), the baby should spend time with someone else, it will contribute to his development. After all, he will be able to observe and study the different behavior, speech tempo, voice, habits, and style of communication. And mom will be able to rest a little and probably have time to miss her little one. Of course, do not forget to acquaint baby with his new carer beforehand. The baby needs time to get used to other person, because he can already experience anxiety at the sight of a stranger.
In the second half of the first year a baby begins to understand the “sign” of emotions. This means that he can experience negative emotions in response to an action as well. For example, if you do not allow him to touch a hot iron, he can become angry and offended.
Different emotions start passing to a baby when is not just watching someone express his emotions, but also starts laughing or crying, being surprised or delighted.
In 8 months he continues to watch his hands, touches and strokes his head, and bangs a toy on the head and taps it. Strokes his tummy, touches legs and genitals.
In 9 months parents need to settle different situations with the baby by peaceful means, avoiding any conflicts. A conflict situation is perceived by a baby as a disaster and immeasurable grief. These painful experiences make a baby to check his parents’ attitude to him, and he begins to provoke conflicts to make sure that he is still loved and protected.
1.The game Peek-a-Boo, that you’ve certainly tried to play with your baby, is very useful at this age.
You can hide yourself behind a door, hide a toy behind the crib, there are as many variations of this game.
2. Place your baby in a sitting or a prone position on a blanket on the floor. Pull one side of the blanket, moving the baby around the room. Father pulls the other side in the opposite direction.
This will not only bring your family a lot of positive emotions, but also will help baby’s vestibular system develop.
3. Take the baby in your arms upright, his back to you. Come to daddy, or grandmother, but not too close. Move the baby closeу to an adult, and let him tickle and pat the baby a little. After that, start dancing with him stepping to and fro. Sing a song or accompany with the exclamations “Whee!”, “Woo-hoo!” etc. Such dances will certainly cause a storm of positive emotions in the baby.
4. You sit on a chair or lie down on the floor and play Swinging Action.
5. Your baby will have lots of positive emotions and great laughs, while catching bubbles.
The main task of the parents at this age is to see a personality in the baby and learn to accept his emotions. He must be taught to express emotions so that there was as little damage (objects and the mind) as possible. Watching the baby’s emotions, keep in mind that many fears can appear in his behavior: fear of strangers, fear of being alone and being leaved by his mother. This is a normal phenomenon for this age, it will pass by itself if you respond appropriately. The baby requires not only the adult’s presence nearby, but playing together and the reactions to his actions as well. It is very important for your baby that you to praise and make him feel merry as well.
Babies imitate adults, and first of all their parents, in everything. So feel free to express your emotions, tell him why you are upset today or, alternatively, what made you happy and gave a good mood.
At about one year old the baby will more focus on the other’s emotions. Being in unfamiliar situations, children often look at their parents, as if looking for advice on how to act and react. If mom or dad expresses anxiety in relation to an unfamiliar aunt in a clinic, a baby will immediately have a tantrum. Or conversely, if parents express joy, for example, for a new toy, the baby will take it without any fear and will try to use it in all possible variations.
Teach your baby to express his emotions. This extremely important skill will be of great use in his future life. He tries to do everything his own way and to show independence. Sometimes, being unable to cope with emotions, he can scream, fall down on the floor, shake his legs and arms, or even knock his head on the floor. If the baby is crying, do not berate him, at first soothe him and offer to play an interesting game for example. Return later to that conversation, tell him that you understand that he wanted a candy, but you did not give it to him, because he would have a tummy ache if he ate it. Or that it is not interesting to get dresses, but there are boys waiting for him, birds and trees, and the grass is green and the flowers need to be smelled, and swings to swing on. Be sure to talk about the baby’s emotion, explain to him how he feels. Try to find a solution together.
At this age it is easy to make the baby laugh. Positive emotions are caused by everything unexpected: a sudden appearance of a toy out of the water when the baby is bathing spilled water on the floor, etc. This is a psychological response to the action, and not physiological that was at birth. Laugh together more often, it will make your little one an optimist.
Chasing is a great emotional game, which will cause a storm of positive emotions in your baby. When he is able to crawl well, crawl after him loudly slapping your palms on the floor and exclaim merrily: “I’m gonna catch my son (daughter)! Run, run away, quickly!” Next time, let your baby chase you. Crawl away from him, saying: “Catch, catch mommy! Come on, catch me faster!” When the baby masters walking you can catch each other on your feet.
By 11 months the baby will gladly fulfill many of your requests. He will find, bring and give you everything you ask for with a great pleasure; will show you where your eyes, nose, ears and mouth are over and over again. However, each baby’s successfully completed action deserves to be praised. Every time say the words of approval and respect to your little one. Be happy and encourage him for his first successful actions.
Read more about how to raise a happy baby in Child Parenting Part 2.